An Easy Day Hike: Mt. Kobo, Part II
Near the city of Hadano is a hidden gem: Mt. Kobo Park
Located between the Hadano and Tsurumakionsen stations on the Odakyu Odawara line, Mt. Kobo Park is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Those with access to a car can easily drive up to a location near the park, and then walk about 10 minutes. However, the hike is worth a try, as it includes a small shrine and great views of Sagami Bay along the way. Although only an easy day hike, Mt. Kobo Park offers an amazing view of Mt. Fuji on a clear day and a canopy of cherry blossoms in the spring.
The trickiest part to this day hike is finding the start of the trail. The trail starts off behind a small residential area, and is easily overlooked. Once arriving at Hadano station, hikers should exit out of the north exit and follow the road straight, walking across two large roads before turning right. At the next major intersection, hikers should then turn left, going over a small bridge that leads straight to the entrance. It is about a 25 minute walk from the station, so don't get discouraged too easily! As a note, the entrance has a small sign and is not well-marked, so it will take a keen pair of eyes to spot it. However, it is across from a large Toys 'R' Us, so referencing a map or a handy smartphone using the Toys 'R' Us as a target might be an easy way to find the entrance.
Once on the trail, there is quite a steep hill at first. Keep trekking, and soon hikers will come across the first of a few picnic sites. Continuing on, the trail meanders through the woods until reaching a second stopping area. At this point, there are conveniently three toilets cleverly shaped like trees. Hikers must cross a small road before continuing on the trail. After another small hill, Mt. Kobo Park begins to come into view.
Climbing over the crest of the hill, hikers are greeted with the two-story viewing structure, offering spectacular views of Mt. Fuji, Hadano, and Sagami Bay. Surrounding the structure is Mt. Kobo Park, often filled with families and couples having a picnic or playing games.
Additionally, at the far end of the park there is a large bird viewing wall for those bird watching enthusiasts.
At this point hikers can turn around and return to Hadano station the way they came, or continue on to Tsurumakionsen station. Continuing on will lead past a small shrine with an antique water pump and a large traditional bell. At a few points along the way, the trail forks into a couple different directions, so if one is unable to read kanji it is helpful to memorize what the kanji for Tsurumakionsen looks like (鶴巻温泉).
The trail pops out seemingly into someone’s backyard, though following it to the end will lead straight to a tunnel underneath a major highway that will lead almost directly to Tsurumakionsen station.